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Caring For A Blind Dog

Whether you’re soon to adopt a dog with congenital blindness or your dog is losing their eyesight, you’ll be amazed at how resilient they can be. With a few adjustments at home and just a little help from you, they can learn, play, and explore the world around them just like any other pup. Try these tips to help your visually-impaired dog live their life to the fullest.

Preparing To Bring Home A Blind Dog
You can set up your home in a way that helps your blind dog navigate more easily and helps them stay safe.
Keep in mind that indoor staircases, as well as outdoor steps that lead to your yard can be a hazard for a dog that has not yet learned the layout of your home. Use a baby gate to block off the top of any staircases in your house. Eventually, many blind dogs learn to use stairs just like any other dog. It’s helpful to lay a textured mat at the top and bottom of the stairs to act as a tactile warning.
Try to visualize your home from your dog’s height. They may bump into tables, open cabinet doors, shoes left on the floor, and other obstacles that you may not normally think twice about. Corner bumpers are easy to install on tables and counters. New shelves, trash cans, and storage containers can make it easier for your family to keep the floor clear of clutter.
Before your dog comes home, make sure your household is set up in a way that you’re happy with, as rearranging furniture after they’ve become accustomed to your home’s layout can make them feel disoriented. You can use textures and scents to help your dog distinguish between different areas.
Sounds can also be helpful to dogs with visual impairment. You can wear loud, clattering jewelry or put bells on your shoelaces so your dog can hear you when you’re near. You can also put bells on your other pets’ collars. A potty bell can make it easier for your blind dog to find the door and communicate when they need to go out.
Look into Muffin’s Halo and other specialized gear for dogs with vision impairments. A halo has the same purpose as a cane for blind humans, preventing your dog from bumping into walls and other obstacles.

Training For Blind Dogs
Blind dogs need mental stimulation and training to keep them safe, happy, and well-behaved. It’s essential to teach cues like “stop,” and “wait,” so you’ll be able to warn them of obstacles. You can also teach “right,” and “left,” to help them more easily navigate on walks.
It’s generally not a good idea to let your blind dog roam off-leash as they are more likely to get lost. However, you should train a reliable recall to help ensure they will return to you should they ever get loose.
Crate training is invaluable for dogs with visual impairment. A crate is a safe place for your dog to spend time when you’re not home or they’re otherwise unattended. If your dog is not crate trained, you can leave them in a safe room while you’re away.

Caring For A Blind-Deaf Dog
Blind-deaf dogs may not be able to hear verbal cues, but they can still enjoy a full, happy life, and they’re just as trainable as any other dog. Most owners of blind-deaf dogs use tactile cues for training. For example, a pat on the back means “sit,” and a pat on the chest means “good job.”
Some owners of blind-deaf dogs choose to use a vibration collar or an e-collar at a low level to communicate with their dog when they’re not nearby. Others tap the floor, creating a vibration to get their dog’s attention.

Anxiety In Blind Dogs
Blind dogs can be prone to anxiety. It’s important that you talk softly to your dog while approaching to avoid startling them, especially if they’re lounging or napping. They should wear a special bandana or harness when in public to let others know that they are blind and that strangers must ask before approaching or petting your dog.
Create plenty of safe areas in their environment with comfy dog beds, preferably scented with lavender to help them feel calm and secure. Adaptil calming products are also helpful.
Talk to your veterinarian about any difficulties or concerns you may have about your dog. They can prescribe an anxiety medication if needed and can also refer you to a behaviorist or specialist who is experienced with dogs with visual impairment.